When Milan Nicole was 16 years old, she went out for an ordinary walk, on an otherwise ordinary day in her New Orleans neighborhood. Moments after leaving her door, she recalls, a man approached her and invited her back to his apartment for a drink—an offer she accepted.
Seconds later, she was in handcuffs. The man was a police offer, and he was arresting Nicole for prostitution.
“I was not doing street work,” insists Nicole.
A transgender woman of color, Nicole says her story is indicative of how police continue to treat members of the LGBT community—particularly transgender women and LGBT people of color.
“I was charged with a ‘crime against nature’—a felony offense—just for being a black transgender female walking down the street,” says Nicole.
The stats show that hers is not an isolated case.
A study released on Tuesday by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs shows that transgender people are 3.32 times more likely to face violence from law enforcement than non-transgender people. As if that weren’t bad enough, transgender people of color are nearly 2.5 times more likely to face attacks by police than white members of the transgender community.
Nicole’s story underscores an often-adversarial relationship the LGBT community shares with police departments across the country—and not just in the Deep South.
Only half of LGBT victims of violence that reported their assaults to the Anti-Violence Project, reported their experiences to law enforcement. [continue]
Sad. Just sad.
It's not just sad, Dallas, it's potentially dangerous. What happens if SCOTUS rules against Prop 8 in a way which can be interpreted as having a nationwide effect on the rights of gays to marry? What happens when the backwater towns of the Deep South find themselves confronted with gay and Lesbian couples demanding rights which those running the town are loathe to grant them? While parts of the US live in the 21st century, there are too many others which remain mired in the 19th, still chained to the Civil War, still bridling against rights given to black men and women, never mind gays, Lesbians, bisexuals and the transgendered.
These kinds of events need to be substantially addressed NOW ... before more shit hits more fans.
I agree Loren. People are so backwards.
OOPPSS Brandi, that statement sinks of blaming the victim. You are quite right about accepting an invitation from a stranger. However, if one looks at the principle of the event, the crime was the arresting officer's. Shame is one thing, but having the right to arrest others for "‘crime against nature’—a felony offense—just for being a black transgender female walking down the street” should be a crime.
Time to get that law taken off the books and replaced with protecting a person's right to privacy. Oh dear! Doing that takes work.
OK, "Programs shows that transgender people are 3.32 times more likely to face violence from law enforcement than non-transgender people." That is the reality. What is, is. What is preferable is possible.
As with domestic violence, the police were part of the problem. We had to organize battered women and children, go to the mayor, the city council, start a public awareness campaign that included regular and consistent news reports to all media and publicize the numbers of victims, the names of assaulters and law enforcement, and judges, and lawyers who did not deal fairly with domestic violence. It was a slow, long drive, but we finally got some training for all these institutions, and changes began to happen.
Crying, pleading, reasoning, begging, imploring people in institutions that they are part of the problems is not enough. We had to confront, specifically, with sworn testimony, the facts of each case and make it so clear that even the most ardent believer in husbands' rights of domination does not include insults, put-downs, trivializations, demonizations, pinching, pushing, threatening, hitting, grabbing or shoving. These are not acceptable behaviors, never have been, never will be.
Now, as to GLBT, the same process will be needed to confront the entire systemic problem in a community. If civil rights are not protected by all the institutions that interface with your group, think and act. None of this crying and begging, etc., will get you anywhere. "Just the facts!" Can't remember who said that, but you know what I mean.